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Taco Bell Beans or Fancy Feast?
March 17, 2006 4:26 PM   Subscribe

I hope this doesn't wreck the experience for anyone... But why do the refried beans at Taco Bell smell just like canned cat food? This really bugs me.
posted by roguescout to Food & Drink (17 answers total)
 
Because they are low-quality?
posted by jenovus at 4:29 PM on March 17, 2006


I assume that they have high levels of low-grade meat grease in them and a high level of pureed animal byproducts, but otherwise I have no idea. This is what they say is in their beans

Beans *
Pinto Beans, Partially Hydrogenated Corn Oil (freshness preserved with TBHQ), Salt, Calcium Chloride, Artificial
Color, and Red No. 40.

Pinto Beans, Partially Hydrogenated Corn Oil (with TBHQ to preserve freshness), Salt

*Will contain one of the ingredient statements above, depending upon regional suppliers
posted by jessamyn at 4:44 PM on March 17, 2006


By contrast, here is what is in Fancy Feast

Brewers rice, poultry by-product meal, corn gluten meal, ground yellow corn, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E), soybean meal, animal digest [note: what the hell is that!?], chicken, turkey, brewers dried yeast, phosphoric acid, calcium carbonate, natural and artificial flavors, potassium chloride, tetra sodium pyrophosphate, salt, choline chloride, added color (Red 40, Yellow 5, Blue 2 and other color), taurine, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, Vitamin E supplement, niacin, manganese sulfate, Vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, copper sulfate, riboflavin supplement, Vitamin B-12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, Vitamin D-3 supplement, calcium iodate, biotin, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), sodium selenite. A-5120

Maybe it's the Red Dye No 40?
posted by jessamyn at 4:50 PM on March 17, 2006


good lord, what the hell is "animal digest?"
posted by NortonDC at 4:51 PM on March 17, 2006


Animal Digest - A powder or liquid made by taking clean, under-composed animal tissue and breaking it down using chemical and or emblematic hydrolysis. The animal tissues used shall be exclusive of hair, horns, teeth, hooves and feathers, except in such trace amounts as might occur unavoidably in good factory practice and shall be suitable for animal feed. If it bears a name descriptive of its kind or flavor(s), it must correspond thereto (i.e., chicken digest). Animal Digest is a cooked-down broth made from unspecified parts of unspecified animals. Any kind of animal can be included: goats, pigs, horses, rats, etc. The animals can be obtained from any source, so there is no control over quality or contamination.
posted by kcm at 4:54 PM on March 17, 2006


Animal Digest: "material which results from chemical and/or enzymatic hydrolysis of clean and undecomposed animal tissue. The animal tissues used shall be exclusive of hair, horns, teeth, hooves and feathers, except in such trace amounts as might occur unavoidably in good factory practice and shall be suitable for animal feed."

It's butcher shop floor sweep.

As for the smell of the beans... I always assumed it was the smell of cheap food from even cheaper cans.
posted by aristan at 4:55 PM on March 17, 2006


Reformed ground up feathers and sawdust flavoured with animal genitalia is the non-technical answer.
posted by fire&wings at 5:05 PM on March 17, 2006


I've always thought most kinds of canned food have a common smell to it. Chickpeas, black beans, cat food, dog food. Not tomatoes, soup, or stock, though.
posted by claxton6 at 6:11 PM on March 17, 2006


Refried beans out of a can don't have a much better smell or texture. And the ones we use around here contain: beans, water, salt.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:12 PM on March 17, 2006


I eat Taco Bell almost every day (see), and I've yet to succumb to any malnutrition-related illnesses. I don't eat Taco Bell's meat though... only the beans, which I find quite tasty.

That doesn't further the answer process much, but someone had to stand up for Taco Bell!
posted by bjork24 at 6:18 PM on March 17, 2006


I can't resist anymore. I've been watching this thread and seething about three things:

1) Taco Bell is awesome! There I said it!
2) You should have marked Jessamyn's answers as best.
3) Jessamyn's still going to delete this comment :-)
posted by popechunk at 6:47 PM on March 17, 2006


I assume that they have high levels of low-grade meat grease

Taco Bell does not use lard in their beans or any of their other products.
http://www.tacobell.com/burning_questions/
posted by RoseovSharon at 6:51 PM on March 17, 2006


Many moons ago, when I was a pimply-faced lad of 16, I spend an unfortunate summer working in a Taco Bell.

As nasty as their food is, I have to give them grudging props for sheer efficiency. Remember those bricks of neopolitan "astronaut" ice cream -- chalky brown, brittle white, and crumbly pink? Taco Bell serves "astronaut fast-food."

Yep - damn near everything there is instant. The meat is all boil-in-bag, the lettuce was partially dried out and reconstituted with a water spritzer, the guacamole and sour cream lived in caulking tubes, the taco shells came packed in large cardboard boxes...

...and the beans? Instant. Freeze dried. Little, brown, scab-like flakes which come out of a vaccuum sealed bag. These are mixed with boiling water and covered. 10 minutes later - presto! You have "beans."

Yeah, I would guess the smell comes from their instant nature. The things probably only have enough real "bean" in them to barely make the ingredient list.

Granted - this was what... 15 years ago, almost? Things may have changed, but that's how the beans were back then. Clean, efficient... but unsettling.
posted by kaseijin at 7:03 PM on March 17, 2006


** ...of 16, I spent an unfortunate...
posted by kaseijin at 7:05 PM on March 17, 2006


I eat Taco Bell almost every day (see), and I've yet to succumb to any malnutrition-related illnesses. I don't eat Taco Bell's meat though... only the beans, which I find quite tasty.

its crazy that i ate taco bell almost every day during my senior year at high school, then after i stopped eating fast food for awhile... went back to taco bell several months later and got violently sick. ive tried several times sense because i still get those cravings and i get sick everytime now.. i guess my taco bell immunity wore off.

(and i dont eat the meat or cheese)


i was just thinking the other day while making a chickpea salad sandwhich that part of the reason it reminds me of tuna salad is it has that same smell out of the can.


maybe it has something to do with the chemicals used to preserve the product. thats my guess.
posted by trishthedish at 8:41 PM on March 17, 2006


The canned meat the mister sometimes eats (ham, chicken, tuna) all smells like Fancy Feast to me.
posted by deborah at 12:05 AM on March 18, 2006


...and the beans? Instant. Freeze dried. Little, brown, scab-like flakes which come out of a vaccuum sealed bag. These are mixed with boiling water and covered. 10 minutes later - presto! You have "beans."

My wife and I have taken dried refried beans camping. They weren't bad. Not for backpacking food, at any rate; hell, grubs start tasting pretty good after a few days in the bush.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:41 AM on March 18, 2006


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